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464 



THE RECLAIMED. 

" He hung his head— each nobler aim, 
And hope, and feeling, which had slept 

From boyhood's hour, thai instant came 
Fresh o'er him, and he wept — he wept 

Bleat tears of soul-felt penitence." — Lalla Boakh, 

'Twas o'er ! — the wild and fev'rish dream 

Of guilt had lost th' unhallow'd light 
That play'd around it from the gleam 
Of pleasure's false yet brilliant beam, 

And all that in that trance seem'd bright 
And beautiful, and born of truth, 
And things of an eternal youth, 

Now sprang before the startled sight, 
Rifled of their delusive charms, 
In alter'd shapes and wither'd forms, 
Flitting before the sickened eye 
That shrank from their grim mockery. 

The " silver veil" was drawn aside, 

That o'er the brow of crime was hung, 

And all the lustre that it flung 
Upon the dazzled sight, to hide 

The hideousness that scowl'd within, 
Was quench'd and gone — the spell was broke, 
And stifled memory wildly woke 

From the long sleep she slept in sin, 
And brought the shuddering soul at last 
To think upon the gloomy past. 

Oh what an agonizing look 

He cast upon life's fearful book, 
And saw on every glaring leaf 

The hopes, the joys, the smiles gone by, 
That scarcely lived for him — so brief 

Their being ere they droop'd to die ; 
And better feelings, wont to spring 
In earlier time on brighter wing — 
These, too, the venom'd shaft of crime 
Struck to the earth before their prime, 
And left the young heart which they graced 
With loveliness, a sunless waste. 

Fierce conscience from her torch of light 

Threw a red glare upon the gloom 
Of memory's wilds, and made so bright 

Scenes that she shuddered to illume, 
That he could count them one by one, 
And see for what he gave up all 

The sweets with which this world is rife, 
Which shine, each like a summer sun, 

Over the wilderness of life : 
Aye ! all the heart of man can call 
His own — love, honour, beauty, fame — 
The light of an unsullied name ; 
Nay, even his very hope of heav'n 
Was in these reckless moments given 

For a wild dream of troubled joy, 
That every nobler tie had riven, 

And pleased him — only to destroy. 



The Reclaimed. 465 

All, all, arose — and in that hour 

Came o'er his soul with startling power, 

Like spirits risen from the tomb 

To taunt — to goad him with his doom ; 

To tell him he was but a speck — 

A shattered and a hopeless wreck, 

Rolling along life's troubled wave, 

That yawn'd around him as a grave, 

With scarce a gleam from mercy's star 

To guide him thro' the wild waves' war, 

And light him to some sunny isle, 

Where hope might live, look up, and smile. 

Oh, 'twas too much ! —the anguish'd heart, 
Thus chasten'd 'neath that quiv'ring smart, 
Felt thro' it a redeeming thrill, 
That pain'd, yet bid its pangs be still. • 
Meekly he knelt him down, and wept 
The tears that long, too long, had slept 
Within his proud, unmoisten'd eye, 
That never look'd for hope on high ; 
And he hath breath'd a heart-sprung sigh, 
Fresh from a reckless, haughty soul, 
That never yet could brook control. 

From out the dust he did not raise 
His fallen head to that bright sky ; 

He dare not think that prayer or praise 
From him could ever hope to stay 
Justice in its terrific sway. 
No, but with wounded feelings now, 
Low to the earth he bends his brow, 
And faintly murmurs one deep prayer, 
Calling on injured heaven to spare. 

" Lord, let thy mercy and thy love 
Lighten my spirit from above ; 
Let but a spark of grace benign 
Beam o'er tnis crime-chill'd soul of mine ; 
And, God of glory, let me feel 
Thou dost not spurn me as I kneel, 
But hear'st this fervent, wild appeal 
For mercy !" 

Lo, a radiance bright, 
Like that of morning's smile, awaking 
• Upon the gloomy pall of night, 
Over the soul's horizon breaking, 

Sheds softly round its lovely fight ; 
And he — the lost one — now can claim 
The smiles of virtue, honour, fame ! 

But not alone he feels a bliss 
So exquisite, so sweet as this, 
But e'en in the ethereal sides 
Angels ring out their melodies— 
Their songs of joy — and loudly share 
The triumph of a heartfelt prayer; 
For if there be a scene that can 

Give a peculiar joy to heaven, 
'Tis that, when guilty, sinful man 

Stands at her throne — reclaim'd — forgiven ! 

Fitz , T. C. D.